We live in a volatile world full of uncertainty. It’s all about targeted flexibility, the art of being prepared, rather than preparing for specific events. Being able to respond rather than being able to forecast, facilitates the ability to respond to the consequences of an event.
It seems that there many experts today who are jumping on the bandwagon and laying claim to some aspect of, or permutation of, the ‘Black Swan’ concept. My question is, “How is it possible for someone to be able to identify the unknown – unknowns, the highly improbable and extremely rare events before they happen?” Even Nassim Taleb, the author of the famous book, “The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” has not yet mastered this. Or he is just not claiming the title, “Master Black Swan Hunter” yet.
Nassim Taleb defines a Black Swan as “…a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: it is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.”
If we take the three principal characteristics – unpredictability, massive impact, explaining the event away after the fact – and assess each, perhaps we too can become Master Black Swan Hunters!
The vast majority of planners find they are limited by that common human frailty – we cannot know the future and are therefore condemned to deal with the after effects of an event. At that time management’s focus is on addressing the consequences of the event, quickly and effectively. You can ponder the color of the Swan (disaster) on your own time, not theirs.
Being able to respond rather than being able to forecast, facilitates the ability to effectively react to the consequences of an event. A Black Swan or not; we leave it to you, mighty Master Black Swan hunters.
See Black Swans, volatility and flexibility, by Geary Sikich for Continuity Central.